Over the centuries, people around the world got together to hoist a pint with good company, Torontonians among them.
This is one of the reasons our local landscape has become dotted with brewpubs. But it’s the new kid on the block, Northern Maverick Brewing Co., that has carved out some pretty serious real estate in downtown Toronto.
Northern Maverick is the brainchild of Jason Kaptyn. With a background in hospitality and a passion for brewing, he began searching for the ideal location to launch his dream. Last year it materialized on the edge of the King West club scene — at the base of oneeleven condominium.
Oneeleven, at the corner of Adelaide and Bathurst, is a 255-condo tower built by Harhay Developments and Carttera Private Equities. When Kaptyn approached the developer with his plan they jumped on board.
The brewpub area was originally earmarked for three retail units, which were converted into one, with 11,000 square feet on the ground floor of the condominium building — actually the first two floors. The space offered the perfect height for large brewing tanks as well as a dining space with seating for 400, including a 110-seat, street-front patio.
Along with the daunting job of building a support system for the beer barrels, there was also the dilemma — a mathematical nightmare — of how to suspend a ll0,000-pound microbrewery on top of said parking garage. Well they did it.
Working closely with HCA Architecture Inc., Kaptyn’s brewpub vision took shape — a dream 10 years in the making. He never gave up on the idea having his own brewery. He wanted to take the mystery out of craft beer, make it approachable, less intimidating.
The King West corridor is popular for work and play, making the location ideal for a mixed-use space. A number of Harhay Developments employees live at oneeleven and are frequent patrons of the brewpub.
Tyler Lalonde, who resides on the 14th floor of oneeleven in a two-bedroom suite, raves about the convenience of Northern Maverick. His fridge is stocked with some of his favourite brews — Hefeweizen and Handcrafted Vienna Lager.
When the brewpub first opened Lalonde was dining there almost daily, and now ventures down at least once or twice a week for drinks or his favourites off the menu: burgers, General Bao Chicken or the charcuterie platter. The patio, with its unobstructed views, is his favourite spot to relax after work and feel the sun.
At one end of the 70-foot-long bar is the Oyster Bar, where guests can watch pros shuck the delicacies. The bar’s white marble-like surface is set off against the dark grey concrete floor and warm, almost black walls, providing a contrasting backdrop to showcase the lighter millwork, barrels, stainless tanks and furniture. The furniture is a mix of custom and predesigned pieces from Montreal’s Afra Furniture.
In the back of the restaurant rests the 10-hectolitre brewhouse, with eight 20-hL fermenters carefully managed by brewmaster, Andrew Crowder, who developed the nine brews currently running through the pub’s beer lines.
“On the lower level, under the brewpub, you have a parking garage for the visitors and residents of the condominiums,” says Kaptyn. “We had a plan to install a lattice hanging, to house 103 beer barrels, it would have to support an enormous weight.”
Currently under construction is an upper level, to be used as a private event space and beer school.
Anyone strolling up Bathurst Street can see the various charcuteries, made by Executive Chef Mark Cutrara (formerly of Cowbell); the charcuterie is housed in special glass-fronted fridges, which, along with the Volano charcuterie slicer, has become the pride and joy of the kitchen.
A retail outlet stocks a wider range of product for purchase, quite convenient for the residents of Oneeleven.
Northern Maverick’s sunglasses-wearing polar bear mascot, found on the beer labels, subtly alludes to classic Canadiana. Throughout the room are framed artistic impressions of beer-loving icons, created by Rob Baytor of Lush Baytor Inc.
Kaptyn, who grew up in Richmond Hill, worked in his family’s restaurants doing everything from stacking boxes to cooking. But he was a brewer at heart, and has been brewing at home since his early twenties.
He has a great passion for hospitality, housemade foods and, of course, beer, and that passion carries over to Northern Maverick — all metal pipes, stainless tanks, concrete and incredible warmth included.